Founded in 2009, Mission HealthCare is a clinically owned and operated home health and hospice care provider offering reliable, thoughtful and professional medical, non-medical and hospice care, all in the comfort of one’s home. Their goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of our patients, their families and their healthcare partners throughout the continuum of care. They utilize all available resources to provide the highest level of care possible to their patients in the San Diego, Temecula, Riverside, San Bernardino,Ventura, Palm Springs, Orange County, and Santa Barbara areas.
We interviewed Matthew Valiere, the Regional Business Development Manager at Mission HealthCare. He has dedicated over 10 years of his life to the hospice field, and here’s what he had to share about his experiences.
What inspired or prompted you to go into the hospice industry?
I became inspired to work in the Hospice field after several years of geriatric care through other aggressive treatment agencies. When I learned about Hospice most was through personal experience with both of my grandmothers as well as one grandfather. The one wish I could say about hospice is that I wish I knew our options sooner.
Describe a typical day for you at Mission HealthCare?
A typical day for me begins at the office going through emails, faxes and other items to organize my day to service the community around me best. Likely I would meet with 2 to 4 families per day to have an explanation of benefits regarding hospice or home health as well as many other options for the right level of care regarding that one patient and their family. I answer roughly 20 in bound calls per day, nearly 100 text messages and hundreds of emails. I would say I become the center of resourceful information to many people, helping point them in the best direction for them and their current philosophy when it comes to treatment options.
What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had with a hospice patient and/or the family?
Every hospice case is rewarding in different ways. However, the most rewarding experience I can recall was my own Grandmother Delores. She was diagnosed with Stage III Cancer on her birthday when she visited the hospital for belly pain and some shortness of breath. Although Mission HealthCare was not able to service her area, I was directly able to help my family request for Hospice when no physician was speaking up for her regarding the best level of care for her at that moment. Weeks after the hospitalization and poor prognosis, my grandmother was admitted to Hospice late into the terminal illness. We were lucky hospice was involved those last 3 weeks. My grandmother’s pain escalated quickly, and hospice palliative goals were met daily. If not for the core Hospice team, my family would have suffered along with her through a much more traumatic outcome, and likely additional days in the Emergency Department and Hospital Acute setting. We were able to keep her at home and all grandchildren were able to say goodbye in her last few days.
Tell us about a happy time or funny experience you’ve had while working in hospice.
One day I met a gentleman in his mid 60’s. He was approximately 85lbs and bed bound in a fetal position. Non-compliant with medications and nursing care, his brother elected the hospice benefit due to the patient not being able to speak for himself for over 2 months and dramatically losing weight and unable to perform any daily living self needs. Hospice initiated and immediately discontinued 20 of 26 medications not needed for this person’s prognosis. Social workers and Chaplain as well as nursing made routine visits for dignity and end of life planning along with the brother. 3 weeks later this man was able to use the restroom on his own, standing alone from his bed and walking to the toilet. He was discharged from Hospice that week as he had bounced back from the grave. This is not uncommon for someone to bounce back, but this gentleman shook my hand upon discharge and told him we saved his life from suffering long before he stood up.
Do you have any regrets or experiences you would do differently with a patient or their family?
I would advise to seek information and acceptance earlier with the primary care provider rather than waiting for the Hospital Attending Physicians to make the recommendation for hospice.
How has working in hospice changed the way that you live your life?
I live now, more than ever before. Not in a wild way of living, but rather more humble, simple and positive. I enjoy the outdoors more, I speak with more confidence, I enjoy the simple things, and I take more time now than ever before to stay connected with my friends and family. I have a better work/life balance.
How has hospice changed in your time working in this industry?
Some hospice diagnosis are not accepted by CMS at this time. These details do not affect whether a patient is in their end of life and need hospice, whether they can receive the benefit or not. However the regulations have cause agencies to be more thorough in their documentation.
Where do you see the future of hospice going?
The future of hospice would be a more educated community. Less fear and more acceptance. To reduce extended unnecessary suffering. Some additional requirements or penalties for Physicians to have end of life conversations sooner rather than later.
If you had a piece of advice to families looking into hospice, what would it be?
Speak with your physician, then speak with a hospice advocate. Learn what is important to you before the decision becomes a rushed decision. Make yourself aware of your options sooner rather than later.